Chuck Berry Statue Approved, Despite Opposition
Rock 'n' roll history buffs, music aficionados and statue-loving citizens can relax now -- a short-lived protest against a proposed 8-foot Chuck Berry statue in his hometown of St. Louis, Mo. has been quieted after the local council rejected the protesters' bid to delay its installation. The statue will soon be a permanent adornment in a public area that acts as a gateway to a row of restaurants, shops and Blueberry Hill, the revered nightclub where Berry still performs to this day.
Francois G. Durand, WireImage.com
The opposition wanted to hold Berry, 84, accountable for crimes that he paid for long ago. While he was convicted of armed robbery as a teenager and tax evasion in 1979, the issue that they had with the rock 'n' roll legend/forefather mostly centered on a 1962 conviction in which Berry was found guilty of violating the Mann Act.
The law, which forbids "transporting a woman across state lines for immoral behavior," generally exists to protect against indentured slavery and prostitution. But, in Berry's case, it was enacted after allegations that he had sexual relations with a young Native American female whom he met after playing a show in Texas in 1959 and then later hired to work at his nightclub, Berry's Club Bandstand -- which was, indeed, across state lines. The girl was fired and then later arrested on an unrelated prostitution charge, which eventually led to Berry's arrest. He was fined $5,000 and served one and a half years on a three-year prison sentence.
Reuters reports that the statue will be installed later this week, with Berry himself presiding over the dedication ceremony on July 29.
Berry has three songs permanently etched in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs That Shaped Rock 'n' Roll' list --